Public Audit Forum

The Public Audit Forum

The Public Audit Forum (PAF) was
established in 1998. It brings together
all the UK’s public audit organisations to
provide a focus for developmental thinking
about public audit.

The Forum’s members are Audit Scotland, Audit Wales, National Audit Office and the Northern Ireland Audit Office. It publishes documents in support of its activities, and previously published documents are available from The National Archives.

The value of public audit


Public audit provides legislatures and citizens with an independent and evidence-based assessment of how well governments are spending public money. An effective, independent public auditor is an essential part of a healthy democracy.


Through annual financial audits and value for money audits, it provides assurance to taxpayers and their elected representatives that public money is properly accounted for, used for the purposes intended and delivering positive outcomes for citizens and service users.


The scrutiny arising from public audit supports trust and confidence in the use of public money by promoting good governance, accountability and improvement.

Principles of public audit


Public sector auditors are independent of audited bodies, which enables auditors to report without fear or favour.  Independence is safeguarded through the process of appointing auditors, freedom to exercise judgement to determine the work needed to meet audit requirements, delivering work in line with high audit, quality and ethical standards, using access to information necessary for audit work, discretion over reporting, and the ability to follow up how bodies respond to audit recommendations.

Broad Scope

Public audit is wide in scope, covering the audit of financial statements, regularity, propriety and value for money. In this way, it helps to contribute to challenging and improving corporate governance arrangements of public bodies, and strengthening public trust in entities delivering public services.


The ability of public auditors to make the results of their audits available to the public is a fundamental strength. To be effective, there must be clear and impactful reporting arrangements, under which auditors report the results of their work both to the bodies responsible for funding and to the public.


As public service delivery models change, public sector audit must develop and respond so it remains relevant to, and continues to be a source of objective insight for, those holding public bodies to account, the public and other stakeholders.

Remit of the Public Audit Forum


Develop strategic strands of work focused on the issues shared by the public audit organisations which support our common objectives of promoting high standards of governance, transparency, audit quality and financial management across the public sector.


Support the accountability of public service delivery by exchanging experiences and methods for investigating the conduct and value for money achieved by those using public money to deliver public services be they in the private, public or third sectors.


Be an evidence-based source of independent and objective insight and guidance to support beneficial change in the public sector by sharing insights into how public bodies can improve services.


Enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and high standards of public audit across the public sector by active co-operation between the audit organisations, sharing knowledge and good practice on the application of audit standards and codes of practice of the auditors of bodies delivering public services.


Practice Note 10

The Forum oversees the development and publication of the Statement of Recommended Practice – Practice Note 10: Audit of financial statements of public sector bodies in the United Kingdom:

The Forum is responsible for leading the maintenance and revisions of Practice Notice 10 to ensure it remains fit for purpose. The Forum has established a Standing Group to carry out these responsibilities. The Group terms of reference are available.

As the SORP-making body, the Forum is responsible for reviewing Practice Note 10 annually and reporting to the Financial Reporting Council. The latest Annual Review report of the Forum to the FRC (issued May 2023) is available . See the report of its 2021 Annual Review.

Current consultation

The Forum is currently consulting on a revised version of Practice Note 10 to be released in Autumn 2024.

Read more about the consultation and how to respond.

Previous consultations

Other publications

The members of the Forum jointly published this report in September 2023. It sets out the UK and devolved governments’ legislation, policy, strategy, governance and monitoring arrangements, relevant to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Contact Us

Audit Scotland

Head office

4th Floor
102 West Port
Edinburgh EH3 9DN

Contact Audit Scotland

Audit Wales

Head office

24 Cathedral Road
Cardiff, CF11 9LJ

Contact Audit Wales

National Audit Office

Head office

157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
United Kingdom

Contact NAO

Northern Ireland Audit Office

Head office

106 University Street

Contact NIAO